Annual Program Planning Conference of PLC


This Annual Program Planning Conference is a 5-step process:

  • Doing your homework

  • Getting Patrol input

  • Holding the planning conference

  • Communicating with the Troop Committee

  • Announcing the plan to the Troop.


Step 1: Homework (Done jointly by the SPL & Scoutmaster in advance)

  • Evaluate the past year (What to keep, to drop, to do a different way)

  • Review the troop Program Planning video (No. AV-02VOI0)

  • Get District and Council event dates (Camporee, Klondike, etc.)

  • Get National event dates (Scouting for Food, SCOUT WEEK, etc.)

  • Get dates of community events; key school events, activities, and holidays; and the Chartered Organization’s special event dates

  • Check the advancement status of the Scouts, to decide on the types of activities are needed to help each Scout progress

  • Prioritize the activities most important for the troop to continue (e.g., summer camp, Philmont trek, monthly outings, annual sponsor service project, fundraising event(s), Good Turn for the community, earning the National Camping Award, National Quality Unit Award, etc.

  • Draw up a preliminary outline of the annual troop program (keep it as flexible as possible while still fulfilling the accomplishments envisioned for the troop)

  • Review the agenda Program Planning Conference agenda and components


Step 2: Getting Patrol Input

At a monthly PLC meeting, present the list of priorities you and the Scoutmaster have developed and explore the range of options you believe are available to the troop. For example, you might feel that the needs of the troop can be best achieved by adopting any of 36 selected program features available from the BSA publications troop Program Features, Volumes 1, 11, and III, Nos. 33110, 33111, and 33112.

Paring down those possibilities to a dozen-one for each month-will be easier to do after Patrol leaders have shared the list with Patrol members and gotten their thoughts on the features that most interest them. Remind Patrol leaders to bring their Patrols’ recommendations to the program planning conference.


Step 3: Hold the troop Program Planning Conference

The Troop’s planning conference is an opportunity for members of the PLC to map out the Troop’s activities for the year and for the Troop’s adult leaders to offer guidance and support. In consultation with the Scoutmaster, set a time and a place for the conference and invite the following persons to attend:

In an active role:

  • Senior Patrol leader

  • Assistant senior Patrol leader

  • All Patrol leaders

  • Troop guide

In a supportive role:

  • Scoutmaster

  • Assistant Scoutmasters

  • Youth assistant Scoutmasters

The Scribe may be invited to the conference to keep log of the proceedings; but he isn’t a voting member of the conference.

Open the conference with a team-building, activity or an action game that will promote cooperation among the participants.

Showing part two of the video troop Program Planning can set the stage for the conference as it reminds those in attendance of the importance of the work they are about to do.



The intent of the annual troop program planning conference is fourfold:

  • Develop troop goals for the coming year.

  • Select the major events for the coming year.

  • Select the program features for the coming year.

  • Fill out the troop’s calendar for the coming year.


Develop Troop Goals

The Scoutmaster leads a discussion that guides the group in developing a list of the goals they want to see the Troop achieve in the next 12 months. The Scoutmaster may present a list of goals and then encourage the group to expand upon them or adjust the list to better fit the needs of troop members. By majority vote the PLC approves the troop goals.


Select the Major Events

With the Scoutmaster’s assistance, you as senior Patrol Leader review potential major events for the troop-summer camp, Scout shows, etc. These events may be entered on a calendar and photocopied for everyone’s information. Invite Patrol leaders to share input resulting from the Patrols’ discussions of the proposed major events for the troop. Be sure to consider the preparation time required for each event and how that will affect the troop’s calendar. Open the floor for discussion of any or all of the proposed events. Encourage input from every conference participant. Decide by a majority vote whether to include each major event on the Troop’s annual calendar. Enter the elected items on the Troop Planning Worksheet, from Troop Program Features.


Select the Program Features

With the Scoutmaster’s support, the SPL presents the list of potential monthly program features, and opens the floor to discuss each of these. Consider these points:

  • Will the program feature help the Troop meet its goals?

  • What opportunities for advancement does it present?

  • Where would the feature best fit into the annual calendar?


Fill Out the Troop’s Calendar

Using the Troop Planning Work Sheet, develop the troop’s calendar by writing the following items in their appropriate spots:

  • Monthly program features

  • Boards of review

  • Courts of honor

  • Recruitment nights

  • Webelos Scout graduation

  • Any other Troop activities that can be scheduled this far in advance

  • Service project for the chartered organization

  • Lead the group in a review of the Troop Planning Work Sheet. Once the group has approved the final edition of the plan, it will be ready to present to the Troop Committee for its input and approval.

  • Plan the Troop program for the upcoming month, beginning by showing part three of the Troop Program Planning video.

  • Close the Troop’s annual program planning conference by inviting the Scoutmaster to offer a Scoutmaster’s Minute.


Step 4: Consult With the troop Committee and Chartered Organization

The SPL and the Scoutmaster (notice who’s listed first?) present the plan to the Troop committee and the Chartered Organization Representative and ask for their support. If revisions are suggested, the SPL will take the plan back to the PLC for further consideration and PLC final approval.


Step 5: Announce the Plan

Distribute copies of the final plan to troop members, parents and guardians of Scouts, members of the troop committee, and representatives of the chartered organization. Copies of the plan also should be given to the Cub Scout pack leaders, unit commissioners, the district executive, the head and secretary of the chartered organization, and the building custodian.